I always wanted a clean, stock truck and finally found what I had been looking for at the 1999 Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. I knew I wasn't going to change much since I always thought these trucks looked good the way they rolled off the assembly line. I just wanted it down in the front a little.

A deal was made with its owner, and I took possession of it a week later. On the way home, the shifter linkage and transmission jammed up. My buddy, who was following me in my car, thought he could clear it up by yanking on the shifter. Before I could get him to stop, he had broken the shifter arm off the column, so we had to limp the truck home.

I put it in my backyard and looked at it for about a month until I decided it needed a newer engine and transmission. I rolled the truck into the garage in the fall of 1999 and had at it. The plan for the buildup was pretty easy, I wasn't doing any major work--just taking it apart, cleaning it up, and repainting it.

I knew I wanted to lower the front and after looking at all the front suspension options, I opted for a dropped I-beam and reversed-eye springs. I read an article in CLASSIC TRUCKS about installing a Toyota pickup power steering box and decided to add that as well.

I've always liked the keep-it-simple approach the best. I heard all the pros and cons about the straight axle, but I knew I could make it drive well. With a little work in the springs, new bushings, and a sway bar coupled to the Toyota power steering setup, I wound up with a smooth, easy-driving truck.

The stock rearend was in great shape, inside and out, so I reversed the spring eyes, added new bushings, a sway bar, and new shocks. I didn't feel that I needed to upgrade the drum brakes, but I did want help applying them--so I added an ECI power booster.

The stock engine and trans were pulled out and replaced with a 302 and AOD. After I made up some new engine mounts and a trans mount, the combo fit in real easy. Then it was onto the body--pretty straightforward: repair, straighten, and sand. After every piece was done, I took the truck to my painter, Jim Calvin, who sprayed the color and cleared it. It was brought back to my house so I could wet sand and buff it. After every piece was sanded and buffed, it was time to start the reassembly.

First, the cab went on with new mounts. Next thing on the list was to start wiring with the Painless Wiring 12-circuit kit. All of the wiring was laid in roughly and finished off when the time came. Next came the inner and outer fenders, radiator support, hoses, belts, etc. I finished up the bed with a new wood floor and set it in place. The interior came next. Mid Fifty F-100 supplied the kits that my wife and I installed.

Then came the hood. Since it takes three people to take the hood off or put it on, whenever someone would come over, we would immediately put them to work on helping us hold the hood while we figured out what adjustments it needed to make it fit. First, I used some chrome stock hinges, but they wouldn't hold the hood up. Then, I rebuilt the original hinges, but they wouldn't let the hood close properly. Finally, the decision was made to put on a No Limit Engineering flip kit. With a little more work, we got the hood to fit really well. The whole process took about a month. Looking back, that was a good decision since the hood does fit great and it is much easier to work on the engine. The last job was to build an exhaust system. I was always intrigued by the systems that were pieced together with mandrel bent turns. So I bought some 2-inch stainless tubing, some turns, and a pair of Turbo Tone mufflers from Stainless Specialties. After two weekends worth of work, I had a nice, simple system that looks and sounds great.

Then came the moment of truth. I filled all of the fluids and fired it up. After some tweaking on the AOD to get it shifting right, we were ready for the road. The truck rides great and the Toyota power steering kit makes this truck drive real nice. It has plenty of power from the 302 and gets 20 mpg!

F A C T S & F I G U R E S
Ray Deselms
Lambertville, Michigan
1956 Ford F-100

CHASSIS

Frame / Builder stock / Ford
Modifications front and rear sway bars, steering stabilizer, transmission crossmember, front and rear shock mounts
Chassis Builder by owner
Rearend / Ratio stock / 3.73
Rear suspension stock, reversed-eye main leaves
Rear brakes stock drum style
Front suspension stock, 1 1/2" drop
Front brakes stock drum style
Master cylinder E.C.I. with power booster
Steering box Toyota 4x4 power steering
Front wheel make, size Wheel Vintiques Gennie, 15x6 (4" bs)
Rear wheel make, size Wheel Vintiques Gennie, 15x8 (4 1/2" bs)
Front tire make, size BFGoodrich Radial T/A P215/70R15
Rear tire make, size BFGoodrich Comp T/A P255/70R15
Gas tank stock

ENGINE

Year and make '79 Ford V-8
Displacement 302 ci
Camshaft General Kinetics F3H-270-S
Heads stock
Valve covers finned aluminum
Manifold / Induction Edelbrock Performer / Edelbrock 1405, 600cfm
Ignition Mallory Unilite
Headers stock manifolds
Exhaust / Mufflers stainless steel, 2" / Stainless Specialties, Turbo-tone
Dress-up cover for windshield wiper motor, bracket for horns, aluminum fan shroud, by owner
Built by Rick Schorling, Schorling Racing Engines, Toledo, OH

TRANSMISSION

Make and model Ford AOD
Modifications by Rebuilding Exchange,
  Temperance, MI
Shifter Lokar

BODY

Body style / Material pickup / steel
Manufacturer Ford
Fenders front / rear stock
Modifications trim strips on running boards
Hood stock with No Limit flip kit
Grille stock
Bed Bruce Horkey ash, louvered tailgate cover, tailgate latches inside bed
Bodywork by owner
Paint by Jim Calvin, Toledo, OH
Paint type / Color PPG / Brite Orange
Headlights / Taillights stock / stock with chrome housings
Bumper stainless steel pulled in
  closer to body

INTERIOR

Dashboard stock
Gauges stock reconditioned by United Speedometer
Stereo Jeep
Air conditioning stock
Steering wheel stock
Steering column stock
Seat stock bench
Upholsterer by owner and wife
Material / Color velour and vinyl / gray and black
Carpet Mid Fifty kit / charcoal